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Illuminated Origami

This is a fun little project that takes just a few basic electronic parts. You make a little item that goes inside an origami object and lights it up.

I also have a video at the bottom of this page that shows you how to make this project.


Here is one of the projects lit up. It is an origami water bomb also called the paper balloon. In the background you can see the pyramid is also lit up.

Lit up origami


I would imagine there is a whole lot of origami folds that would do great with this kind of a thing. I started this out with just a couple of the basic shapes that are kind of like containers - the water bomb and the pyramid.


The parts usedHere is a look at all the parts used in this project. A 3 volt button battery, a button battery holder, a 100 ohm resistor and an LED. There is a lot of tolerance with all this stuff and you could use a resister from 50 ohms to 220 ohms this would all be fine. Tinker with a variety of LED's to get a nice bright one. Typically one that works at around 1.5 to 1.7 volts is pretty nice for this, nice and bright.






The finished LED unitThis picture shows one built unit on the left. It is just ready for the battery to be put in. Pretty much as simple as that. Be sure the resistor is in series with the LED.









an LEDJust one very important note about LED's. They are all like this. You can see by the picture that one leg is longer than the other leg. This is important! That is the Positive (+) lead. You must connect that to the positive side of the battery. If you connect it to the negative the LED will burn out. So connect the long lead to the positive on the battery.










Insert the LED

Once it is all together and the battery is in you can install it into the origami object.










Three origami objects lit upAnd here are a few shapes that are illuminated. It is interesting to see how the light reacts differently depending on how many layers of paper are on the various sides of the object.


About the paper and the folds

The paper makes a big difference in how it looks. So you might want to experiment with different papers and different thicknesses of paper.

Paper that has color on one side and white on the other side is pretty nice for this project. Folding it with the white side in tends to brighten up the final glowing object.


Here are the pyramid and the water bomb that you see in this project:

Make an Origami Pyramid

This is an easy beginner fold and you can have it done in about two minutes. And it looks really neat. There is something about the filled shape of it. Fold an Origami Pyramid

Make an Origami Water Bomb

This is a medium easy fold that makes a paper bomb that you can fill with water and throw. Good for some summertime fun. All you need is a square of paper and some water. How to Make an origami water bomb


Here is a video showing this all in action



Beginners Guide to Origami

Absolute Beginner's Origami

By following the foolproof methods set out in this instructional, even those who have never tried this intriguing craft before will soon find themselves able to turn out sophisticated origami pieces. Includes 200 color illustrations, ten sheets of origami paper and ten sheets of practice paper.



Origami ZooOrigami Zoo: An Amazing Collection of Folded Paper Animals - In Origami Zoo, two of the world's finest paper folders present an exciting collection of original origami animals. Their creatures, ranging from the exotic to the familiar, the elegant to the whimsical, will both inspire the beginner and challenge the most accomplished folder.

Choose among the dolphin, penguin, swan, owl, goose, kangaroo, praying mantis, or even the mythical Pegasus or extinct wooly mammoth. Each of these thirty-seven new projects is true origami-folded from a single piece of paper with no cutting or gluing-and is complete with clear step-by-step diagrams, instructions, and a photograph of the finished model.


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